The PhD candidate will work in the research project SEMPER: Self-Efficacy in Mathematics, Pathways in Education and Research, alongside senior researchers, other PhD/Post Doc candidates, and master’s students at HVL. The focus for the PhD project will be thematically related to the development of students’ mathematics self-efficacy and performance and/or on teacher-student interactions that support this development. While the PhD must fit within the scope of the research project, it must also be thematically relevant for the PhD programme of the Faculty: Bildung and Pedagogical Practices.

The PhD programme Bildung and Pedagogical Practices includes around 70 PhD candidates working on their separate projects. Further descriptions, study plans, and admission criteria for the programme can be found HERE.

SEMPER is financed by the Research Council of Norway from 01.09.2023 – 31.08.2027.

The primary objectives of SEMPER are to develop knowledge regarding lower secondary school students’ learning processes in mathematics, and to assess the effect of a professional development intervention-pilot on teachers’ differentiated instructions and students’ trajectories in mathematics. Secondary objectives relevant to the PhD position are to:

1.    determine individual differences in students’ trajectories of self-efficacy and the cyclical relationship between self-efficacy and performance experiences, as well as key individual and group level factors associated with these processes

2.    determine the relationship between teacher-student interactions and the development of students’ self-efficacy and performance trajectories as they learn new topics in mathematics.

Within these objectives the following themes will be particularly relevant for the PhD position:

Research on students’ mathematics learning processes, including their self-perceptions, performance, and cognitive attribution of their performance experiences. Classroom research, including observations of teacher-student interactions, considering, e.g. emotional support and instructional support. While the SEMPER project includes broader themes and objectives, the successful PhD candidate will focus on specific themes within the SEMPER project, preferably including a focus on teacher-student interactions and their relationship with students’ learning and motivation processes in mathematics.

Multiple data sources will be collected through SEMPER, including self-report questionnaires (completed by the students), systematic classroom observations, mathematics tests, and interviews (with students and teachers). Additional types of data could be considered for the PhD project, but the dissertation should include data from systematic observations and/or questionnaires. For additional data collection, the burden these may have on the participants must be considered, and balanced with the added value they would provide for the PhD and SEMPER. The dissertation should be article based, including articles published in international journals.

A more detailed description of the SEMPER project is available, and candidates for the position are encouraged to use this as a starting point for designing their project description. The description can be accessed by contacting the project PI (

The position is three years. A candidate with a high level of competence in Norwegian or another Scandinavian language (Danish or Swedish) may choose to be employed in a four-year training programme, where 25% of the time will constitute teaching, development work, or administration. This work is carried out at HVL. For candidates without a high level of competence in Norwegian or another Scandinavian

language, the time frame for the PhD training programme will be three years. “High level of competence” is understood as the equivalent to B2 or higher.

The PhD candidate will have their main supervisors in FLKI at HVL.

The workplace is HVL, on the Sogndal campus, Norway. PhD positions are recruitment positions, with the purpose of contributing to an active research environment at HVL.

The desired starting date is 01.09.2023.

Learn more and find application instructions here.